Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Trevon Duval is a key Duke prospect.  Photo - Blue Devil Nation

Duke Focus is on Trevon Duval

Trevon Duval is a key Duke prospect.  Photo - Blue Devil Nation
Trevon Duval is a key Duke prospect. Photo - Blue Devil Nation

The Duke Blue Devils hosted point guard Trevon Duval for their win over arch rival North Carolina  this past week.  Duval is one of the two top targets left in the Class of 2017 for Duke with the other being Kevin Knox.

Duval has good length and size, standing 6-3  and weighing in at around 180 pounds. He has a muscular upper body which will help to make him college ready a season from now.

Rated as the top point guard in his class, Duval stayed through Friday for his official visit with The Blue Devils.  During his visit he was able to tour the Duke campus with all of the assistant coaches and meet with Mike Krzyzewski.

GARY TRENT JR, WENDELL CARTER AND TREVON DUVAL WATCH DUKE VS UNC IN CAMERON.
GARY TRENT JR, WENDELL CARTER AND TREVON DUVAL WATCH DUKE VS UNC IN CAMERON.

Duval was also able to spend time with Blue Devils to be Gary Trent Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. who were visiting as well.  Trent would end up staying for the Duke win over Clemson before returning to California to finish up his high school basketball season.

The coveted point guard prospect also got to see the top-notch NBA-like facilities.  He was also able to hang out with current freshman Harry Giles Jr., Jayson Tatum and other Duke players.

There were a couple of signs encouraging Duval to come to Duke in the stands during the Duke win over North Carolina.  Daval was able to see the rivalry up close and personal while sitting with his Father and other close to him.

In between timeouts the Cameron Crazies tried to get Duval to sit with them via a chant.  But the noise and the intensity from a thrilling win over North Carolina made it impossible to be heard with the band and music playing.

It probably goes without saying that Duval knows there is a wide open spot at the point guard position at Duke.  It is likely as well that he is aware that he would play with a talented cast of players who will compete at the highest level.

Duval is very physical on his drives and goes north to south in quick fashion.  He is an explosive player who can score the ball and is working on being a better distributor. Duval has a great handle and can pull up for the jumper with ease.  He can adjust with the ball on the fly with his athleticism and is getting better from beyond the three-point stripe.

Kansas, Arizona and Baylor are among other schools that have offered Duval.  Most consider Kansas where he visited on January the 31st and Arizona to be the main competition for Duke. However, Duke seems to be in good shape in his recruitment and the word is he had a nice visit.

Duke also had a visit from Alex O'Connell for the game with Clemson.  O'Connell and the aforementioned Carter and Trent make up the 2017 Duke class to date.

Duke nips Clemson behind Kennard

Duke Nips Clemson – Time to Move On

Duke nips Clemson behind Kennard
Duke nips Clemson behind Kennard

There is little reason to talk about the Duke win over Clemson other than they won.  Yes, they looked flat-footed  on offense and yes they were tired.  In just mere hours the team had to put the big win over UNC behind them.  That is not easy.  It is not easy in that their friends, classmates and visitors all want a part of them.

Yes, Duke struggled to beat Clemson and it took a solid effort from Luke Kennard to seal the deal.  The sophomore sharp shooter ended the game as the only Blue Devil in double figures with 25 points but they got through what many call a trap game with a win.

Enough about the Clemson game alone; lets talk about the week. Duke gained two key wins in the rough and tumble Atlantic Coast Conference.  They are now riding a five gain winning streak and Duke won 20 plus games again under Mike Krzyzewski with a lot of season to go.  Duke will now head to Virginia with an 8-4 record in league which is one game out of the loss column from the top.

The bottom line is despite the close win over the Tigers, Duke is in a good place.  More importantly, they are getting better and tougher again from the experience.  That experience should pay off in close games or when adversity hits in March.  The Blue Devils are starting to look the part but as Mike Krzyzeski said in the post game presser, there is still a ways to go.

Duke will get the day off on Sunday and away from basketball for a bit per Krzyzewski and he should too.  But he will likely be texting his assistants in short time and watching film on the Wahoo's who sit just ahead of them in the standings.

Duke controls their own destiny the rest of the way.  They have just six regular season games left and four of those are against teams that are just ahead of them or they are tied with in the standings.  Despite all the adversity, Duke finds itself in a pretty good place at 20-5 and heading in the right direction when it counts.

All that said, I mean no disrespect to Clemson in not going into a game story.  The bottom line is the big picture is the main story in that Duke is playing better and winning.  It is the time of year when you have to put wins behind you quickly and move forward.  And that includes a big win over your rival or a unexpected close win at home.

 

Duke recap

Duke Defeats North Carolina – Recap

Duke recap
Duke got a lift from Jayson Tatum.  The recap.

After an 86-78 win over their arch rival North Carolina the Duke Blue Devils are in a good place.  At no other time this season has Duke been collectively healthy as they are right now.  While there is still a long ways to go for Harry Giles and Marques Bolden due to injuries, the Blue Devils seem ready to get even better.

Jayson Tatum, role ready

As good as Jayson Tatum can be, it took a change in roles for him to truly help his team win.  Tatum led Duke in rebounding and assists in the win over North Carolina.  But more importantly, he did not let a slow start keep him down.  Tatum scored most of his 19 points in the 2nd half.  His new role asks him to rebound more and this has led him to a better overall game.

ga2Grayson is mentally back

No player in the country has been scrutinized more than Grayson Allen.  While some of that was deserved with concern to antics which hurt his team, he has moved forward.  Allen blazed the Tar Heels from beyond the three-point stripe and had fun in doing so. Allen looks care free now with concern to his play while at the same time exuding control of his emotion.  Channelling emotion in good ways is helping both Allen himself and his Duke teammates.

Steady Kennard

It took a three-headed monster for Duke to overcome a game bunch of Tar Heels in Cameron.  Luke Kennard continues to deliver timely offensive buckets.  The sophomore has been as steady as any player in the country all season long.

Giles accepting of his role

I bet some out there think Harry Giles wants more burn.  Well, he does, but he also knows he is running his race at a certain pace.  Giles is accumulating solid stats per minutes played but he is accepting of his role.  He made it clear that he appreciates how Mike Krzyzewski is bringing him along in the locker room.  He has been given a role, knows what it is and that things will only get better in time.  Giles is showing the kind of patience one looks for in a potential star coming off the bench.

The little things...

You don't have to jack up 15 shots per contest to have an impact. Matt Jones hit a lone, but huge, three-point shot.  But his two steals were timely and kept the Tar Heels from gaining momentum.  Duke got some solid minutes from Frank Jackson as well who did not miss a shot from the field.

In closing

Duke is only going to get better and they will do so at the right time of the year.  They're destiny is in their own hands for they have four games remaining against Florida State, North Carolina, Syracuse and Virginia.  All of the aforementioned are currently ahead of Duke in the standings or in a top four slot.  The top four seeds in the upcoming ACC Tournament get a double-bye.

Duke has about a half of a day to celebrate the win over North Carolina for they face Clemson tomorrow in Cameron.  Duke will be going for yet another 20 win season under Mike Krzyzewski.  In a sense, the short turn around could help the Blue Devils come March. Teams are forced to win big games and then move on to the next one in a similar circumstance to the scheduling of said games.

The win over North Carolina was he 501st victory for Krzyzewski in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Luke Kennard has made the Late Season Wooden Award Finalist (Photo by Lance King)

Luke Kennard on Top 20 Wooden Player of the Year List

Luke Kennard has made the Late Season Wooden Award Finalist (Photo by Lance King)
Luke Kennard has made the Late Season Wooden Award Finalist (Photo by Lance King)

LOS ANGELES – Duke sophomore guard Luke Kennard was named to the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 on Wednesday when the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced the watch list on ESPNU.

Kennard leads Duke in scoring with an average of 19.8 points per game and shooting .531 from the floor, .458 from outside the arc and .850 from the free throw line. He is one of four players nationally – and the only major-conference player – to average at least 19.5 points while shooting at least .500 from the floor, .400 from outside the arc and .800 from the line.

Kennard was also recently named one of 10 finalists for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.

The Franklin, Ohio, native has scored in double figures in 22 of Duke’s 23 games this season, eclipsing the 20-point mark a team-high 11 times. He ranks third in the ACC in scoring. His .531 field goal percentage ranks second overall and best among guards in the conference. He leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (.458) and ranks fifth in free throw percentage (.850) while averaging the third-most minutes per game (34.7) in the ACC.

Kennard had perhaps the half of the year in college basketball in Duke’s 85-83 win at Wake Forest on Jan. 28, going 10-of-10 from the floor and 5-of-5 from deep to total 30 points, four assists and three rebounds in the second half. He knocked down the game-winning three-pointer with 6.6 seconds to play.

Kennard has an opportunity to become the fifth Duke player – and first since Christian Laettner in 1992 – to average at least 20.0 points while shooting at least 50 percent from the field.

For his career, Kennard owns averages of 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 29.8 minutes. He is a career .472 shooter from the floor, .377 from three-point range and .868 from the free throw line. After just 59 career games, he is only 120 points shy of joining Duke’s 1,000-point club.

 

The 41st annual presentation of the John R. Wooden Award will be the anchor presentation of the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s on ESPN2 on Friday, April 7, 2017.

Krzyzesski talks of Duke coming together

Krzyzewski Seeks Duke Continuity

Krzyzesski talks of Duke coming together
Krzyzewski seeks Duke continuity.

As Duke heads into a critical home game against the league leading North Carolina Tar Heels they seek continuity.  Perhaps you have heard that before for it is something Mike Krzyzewski knows it will take to go far in the pending tournament's.

Krzyzewski addressed the media in his annual chat before the rivalry game .  During that time he was asked whether he saw signs of his team coming together and he replied in long form.

''Well they are coming together.  Whether they come together at a high enough level to compete at the level we would like to compete is the question.  They have been good kids and have not been able to develop as much chemistry especially due to injuries.''

Duke has of course been saddled with varying injuries.  Krzyzewski would later mention that Marques Bolden missed six weeks after starting earlier in the season.  He also went into the rehab process of Harry Giles coming off an ACL tear and more recent injuries to senior captains, Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones.

''Chemistry is developed in practice.  You are there every day and pushing one another.   A couple of these guys missed five weeks.  You never get that back completely but in the last two weeks we've made strides and we are playing better defense and sharing the ball better.

Just when you thought Duke was rounding the corner with concern to adversity Mike Krzyzewski went out for in season back surgery.  It did not help that Jeff Capel had to take over the team without Amile Jefferson, who according to Krzyzewski is the one player who makes Duke go this season.

''They have been great to coach.  I have been on the bench since Saturday, but I have been at practice for a couple of weeks.  They practice hard and are doing what we're asking them to do,'' said Krzyzewski.

It is clear that Krzyzewski is happy to be back and it is almost as if he relishes the challenge of molding a team together.  He likely knows that the team getting better and playing with and off one another has to happen for success.  Afterall, the man just won his 500th game in Cameron Indoor Stadium and has seen a thing or two with concern to development.

''A thing that happens at this time of the year or later in the year is we would not practice as long due to the wear and tear on your team.  We would like the practice but you have to compensate  for that, '' said Krzyzewski.

Oddly, going into the year, the staff thought they could practice at full strength for the first time in 400 or so days.  And they did,  But then came a string of injuries which have been talked about ad nauseum

The challenge now is for the staff and team to adjust as best they can in the midst of a daunting ACC schedule despite playing together for just a short time. The spirit seems to be there, but the questions will linger the second the Blue Devils stumble again.

The Blue Devils will seek to protect their home court against a Tar Heel team that has won 11 of their last 13 games.  For this to happen, Duke pretty much needs their best chemistry in a game this season.

''As long as we have a good attitude and a willingness to work we'll see what happens,'' said Krzyzewski.

Sidebar - The ESPN Gameday presentation will start at 7 o'clock on ESPN.  Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas will call the game.  Duke has won four out of the last five meetings with North Carolina.  Duke has had to utilize nine different starting lineups this season due to injuries.  Krzyzewski is 12 wins shy of his 1000th win at Duke.  He has won 1061 game overall which is the all time best mark.  Duke sophomore Luke Kennard leads all ACC guards with a .531 FG percentage mark. Duke is 10-1 this season and 35-3 during his career when Amile Jefferson has a team high in rebounds.

54

Krzyzewski Garners NABC Honor

54KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Duke University and former United States National Team head coach Mike Krzyzewski will receive the seventh Court of Honor Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Foundation at the Court of Honor Gala on June 21, 2017.

The Court of Honor Award is presented to an individual who has roots in college basketball, values those roots and has gone on to distinguish himself in his profession, exhibiting the highest standards of leadership.

The only men’s basketball coach in Olympic history to lead teams to gold medals in three Olympic Games, Coach K began a 38-year tenure as a member of the USA Basketball coaching staff in 1979. He served on 21 USA staffs as a head or assistant coach with an overall record of 139-7 (.952). As a head coach, Krzyzewski’s teams posted a 107-7 record while winning seven gold medals, two silver medals and two bronze medals.

In 2005, at the request of then-USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo, Coach K agreed to accept the position of United States National Team head coach. During his tenure, the USA men had a record of 60-1 (.984) in official FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions, highlighted by gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2010 FIBA World Championship, 2012 London Olympics, 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“I have spent a lifetime in basketball and have had many memorable moments but nothing compares with the relationship forged over a decade with Mike and winning gold medals,” Colangelo said. “He is a Hall of Famer in every sense and a brother to me as we joined forces to create a new culture for USA Basketball.”

Krzyzewski, a 2001 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, concluded his National Team coaching career on a 76-game winning streak.

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, Krzyzewski was named head coach at West Point in 1975 and after five seasons, left to carry on his career at Duke University. In 41-plus seasons as a college head coach, he has posted a 1,061-326 record – the most wins by a head coach in NCAA men’s basketball history.

Duke has captured five national championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015) under Coach K with 12 Final Four appearances, tied with John Wooden for the most all-time. The Blue Devils’ 90 NCAA Tournament wins under Krzyzewski are the most in NCAA history.

Previous winners of the Court of Honor Award include Colangelo (2009), Bill Bradley (2010), Phil Knight (2011), Jim Nantz (2013), Dick Vitale (2014), John Thompson, Jr. (2015) and George Raveling (2016).

The gala will be held at Cipriani, located at 110 E 42nd Street between Lexington and Park, in New York City. Additional information, including how to purchase tickets, is available at courtofhonorgala.com.